Guided Meditation

Ready for a hodge podge? Here it comes.

Wasn’t it stunningly thoughtful of 45 to tell the French firefighters, obviously all ignorant of how to deal with the blaze devouring Notre Dame, what they should do: drop tons of water from planes passing over the area.

And it felt so good to hear 45, when asked what he thought of the destruction, respond with “It’s terrible.”

Uh huh.

45 has pledged money to help rebuild the cathedral. Doesn’t that look good! We all know those who make sure you see what good folks they are.

Of course, Puerto Rico was all but demolished by the hurricane; however that was “their fault.” And certainly the hungry and ill kids and parents and others at the border should be ignored because who do they think they are, barging into our country?

Be sure to read up on Jimmy Carter’s response to 45. It’s in a homily he gave at his church.

Whew. That’s enough.

A gigantic thank you to Wayne State University Press for supporting the free book launch event we held on April 5. I have heard from many about what happened there: The feel of a performance with an audience disappeared and the whole thing transformed into something we all created together.

It was terrific to hear, “I never realized that there were so many of us who cared the same way. Being amid like-minded souls felt sooooo good.”

Here’s but one example, this from the wonderful writer Gayle Boss. Find her work here. “. . . like a silent retreat: not until it’s over and you’re walking away feeling easier in your bones do you know how much tension you were holding. For a couple of Spring hours we were immersed in the Beloved Community.”

And I say to all of you who were there, thank YOU for making that community!!

How about this for begging? Please buy Saint Peter and the Goldfinch or another book from Wayne State University Press. They work hard on behalf of us by putting good into the lives of others who are holding on during this oppressive time. And if you enjoyed the book reception and feel the price of a book is worth what you enjoyed, all the better to support them. It’s a gift economy.

And now for your relaxation and peace of mind, your welfare, I offer a repeat poem. I recommend you repeat often…

Guided Meditation

Sit in a way that allows you to be comfortable
and relaxed. Do not let this hot and humid morning
enter your mind. Empty your mind, even if you

were up until 3am trying to forget what
your doctor told you yesterday afternoon. Now
take three deep breaths allowing yourself

to savor the mysterious gift that you
are breathing. You are breathing here
during this one moment, the only moment

that the benevolence of the earth gives
during this moment. This is your moment
even though we do not yet know

what a moment is. I often wonder what
the moment is just prior to the moment.
But that is a thought. And this is a yoga

meditation, and we are to accept each thought
as simply something that passes through us
and goes on its merry, or often unmerry, way.

Take another breath counting to four on the inhale
while picturing a gnome strolling up your nostrils
lugging a bag of gentle breezes, then count to six

on the exhale as the gnome cascades ass over
essential oils on an avalanche of air. Feel
your whole body fully relaxed. Continue breathing.

Picture a candle in a cave. Do not ask why in the
whole wide world there is a candle in a cave. If
you do, see in the question a yogi smiling as he

searches for the matches. Continue breathing.
And now imagine a field of lotus flowers. Or
if you are from the Midwest and unfamiliar

with lotus flowers you can always substitute corn.
Now picture rain on a roof. Listen to it. Listen
to the distant cough of thunder. Just listen. Don’t

think about what you left out to ruin the last time
it rained. Continue breathing, and as you do, allow
any image to appear on the multiplex of your mind.

Be sure not to fixate on any one image. If a lover
old or new comes at you with a flame thrower, just
sit, watch, let it all pass, be glad your ego’s been emulsified.

Stay relaxed. Continue breathing. Feel the comfort
of your whole body as you repeat the mantra, “I am
at peace. I am totally at peace. I am really, totally at peace.”

Now that you are at peace, feel your feet, palms, pelvic floor
fully at rest in the room. Come to Sukhasana. Bring your hands
to your heart, and join me for one long peaceful Om.

for Ami, Stacy, and Teresa

–Jack Ridl

First published in I-70 Review
Subsequently published in Saint Peter and the Goldfinch

Hey here’s some good news. Our dear friend, the remarkably compassionate and intelligently understanding Ginny Mikita has founded Animal Blessings. Ginny offers animal blessings, grief support groups, one-on-one companioning, memorial services, estate planning, and advocacy for our animal companions. Her website is Or call her at 616-460-0373.

And the wonderful Kathleen Markland’s new book, A Pen, A Brush, A Book, is out and orderable right here. We have been celebrating this homecoming all week, and would like to boast that some of the work in the book was penned and painted right under our own noses. We have bragging rights on this one.


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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

20 thoughts on “Guided Meditation

  1. I especially like the gnome😆. Thanks for helping me recall the good moments of good people together. Peace, Jane

    Jane Dickie


  2. Oooommmmm. For Ami, Stacy, and Teresa………..and me. Now, it is time to listen to Barr and his “presser” (new vocabulary word, meaning: poorly-timed Press Conference)…I hope my Ooooommmm lasts for a while longer this morning…

  3. After spending 5 hours yesterday talking a dear friend out of taking a handful of sleeping pills by insisting he breathe into the phone into my ear, I can attest to the power of breath as a life force. By freeing the moments of clutter, the words, the breath flowed that possibly informed a brilliant soul that it was not the time to give up on this lonely, messy life. Someone was holding on and not about to let go.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • I am wordless except to say the person called the right good soul, you.
      YOU are the one Emily Dickinson wrote about in the poem about the brave
      souls who go unnoticed.
      Love and breath and care–you

  4. Hi Jack (and Julie),

    Sitting at my little desk trying to read some emails. Hard to do today because my eyes are cloudy with tears. Read your note believe which prompted me to write my thoughts down at this very moment.

    So just between you and I thanks for the inspiration.




    • The poem, hilariously, is dedicated to my three yogis : )

      we’re kin. I am getting better at emptying my mind though, thanks to those three

      Can’t write a certain kind of lyric poem unless one trusts the wandering, associative mind.

      • I do my best art when my mind is allowed to wander. If the crazy , repetitive anger talk has taken over, I turn up the music. If that doesn’t work, I turn it up louder. When the brain gets turned off, the art flows like water.

  5. Wow, I love this one. It cracks me up and is always a good “it’s not just me” reminder. Thanks for writing, sharing, resending.

    I have two of your new books – one for me, one for my sis. Is there a convenient time for you to sign them before she’s in town for her birthday over Mother’s Day weekend? Possibly the Sunday prior to that? We’d come your way of course.

    Hugs to you, Julie, cat, and pups.

    Joan and Frida exploring our new sunroom!


    • You make me dancing happy! The poem’s dedicated to my three yogis. : )

      Oh my yes yes yes to a book signing visit! Just let us know an ETA

      Hugs to you and you two and your HOME!!!!!

  6. As a novice yoga teacher at the age of 70, I so appreciated Guided Meditation. I know if I recite it at the beginning of class (aka Centering), they will either laugh more during the next 55 minutes or begin to wonder if I am past my prime. Either way, it’s a win-win for me! Loved it!

    • OHHHHHHH I am soooo glad. Win Win and WIN!!! We all need that.
      The Gnome and I are so grateful for how you lifted our hearts!

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